“I do not believe that the hair in itself is that important; this is not about protection from men’s lusts. It is me telling the world that my femininity is not available for public consumption. I am taking control of it, and I don’t want to be part of a system that reduces and demeans women. Behind this exterior I am a person – and it is this person for which I want to be known.”—Nadiya Takolia in The Guardian. on the Hijab, and why it is a political and feminist for her.
“Though no one would ever think of using the term honor violence (we reserve that descriptor for brown people who live somewhere else, motivated by religious something-or-other or tribal something-or-other), one-third of women murdered every year in the United States are killed by their intimate partners. In 2005 that amounted to 1,181 women, or three women every day. To put that in perspective, the UN estimates there are 5,000 honor killings every year in the entire world. 5,000 in a world of 6 billion versus nearly 1,200 in a single country of 300 million. In other words, a woman in America runs a greater risk of being killed by her husband or boyfriend than a woman in Pakistan.”—
A woman in America runs a greater risk of being killed by her husband or boyfriend than a woman in Pakistan.
Owen Jones: Hatred of those on benefits is dangerously out of control
What does it say about modern Britain when the pre-meditated massacre of six children is described as “an accident waiting to happen” on national television? In the early hours of last Friday, someone poured petrol through the letterbox of the Philpott household, unleashing a blaze that ended in one of the most appalling mass murders in our country’s recent history. Whoever was responsible must have known the almost inevitable consequences of their actions. No rationalisations exist for this sort of atrocity.
But as the surviving Philpotts face an agony most would struggle to imagine, right-wing shock-jock Carole Malone argued that they had effectively brought it on themselves. “This family became a target a couple of years ago,” she argued on ITV’s This Morning; they had “probably upset a lot of people” by being a family of 17 who were receiving state benefits. “I suspect they have many enemies out there because they were seen to be on benefits,” she suggested with a tone that did not betray a hint of compassion. With the country in such a dire financial state, “People have seen families – maybe like this – wanting to take advantage.” Referring to the “culture of the family” and the fact they had brought “attention to themselves”, Malone concluded that “six innocent children have died as a result”.
“Roberts’s statement of black homophobic “especiability,” COGIC’s oppositional restatement, and Bryant’s resistance to gay folks all articulate, at bottom, a concern about what it means to have personhood in the face of uncertainty, incoherence and instability. However, the problem emerges from, and is an attachment to, the fact that subjectivity is created by a violent move out from the incoherent, it is an aspiration toward stability and certainty…. But as the very idea of subjectivity is sustained by the logics of self-determination, I fail to find the utility; these are western philosophical concepts, placing “European man” as theological-philosophical-spatial center, and the “others of Europe” (as Denise Ferreira Da Silva calls it) can only journey toward a determined “self’ … subjectivity is defined by the ability to be fully possessed of oneself, to be closed, stable, anti-social, to be wholly determined; it emerges through violence and violation, thus i’m not persuaded that it is a worthy pursuit.”—
The Crunk Feminst Collective in Interrupted Attachments: On Rights, Equality and Blackness. Rest of article found here.
'Stability and certainty': these are ideals i associate with (explicitly) white supremacist organisations such as the British National Party, and English Defence League: there appeal lies in promising a stability, and certainty in the face of a fluxatious (it's a word because i want it to be) and uncertain world. And they arguments are strongly hooked to identity - 'real' 'true' 'Britishness'. I don't what this is meant to add to the quote above. It's just struck a chord, not necessarily the chord is was meant to strike.
I am a woman born of a woman whose man owned a factory. I am a woman born of a woman whose man labored in a factory.
I am a woman whose man wore silk suits, who constantly watched his weight. I am a woman whose man wore tattered clothing, whose heart was constantly strangled by hunger.
I am a woman who watched two babies grow into beautiful children. I am a woman who watched two babies die because there was no milk.
I am a woman who watched twins grow into popular college students with summers abroad. I am a woman who watched three children grow, but with bellies stretched from no food.
But then there was a man; But then there was a man;
And he talked about the peasants getting richer by my family getting poorer. And he told me of days that would be better and he made the days better.
We had to eat rice. We had rice.
We had to eat beans! We had beans.
My children were no longer given summer visas to Europe. My children no longer cried themselves to sleep.
And I felt like a peasant. And I felt like a woman.
A peasant with a dull, hard, unexciting life. Like a woman with a life that sometimes allowed a song.
And I saw a man. And I saw a man.
And together we began to plot with the hope of the return to freedom. I saw his heart begin to beat with hope of freedom, at last.
Someday, the return to freedom. Someday freedom.
And then, But then,
One day, One day,
There were plans overhead and guns firing close by. There were planes overhead and guns firing in the distance.
I gathered my children and went home. I gathered my children and ran.
And the guns moved farther and farther away. But the guns moved closer and closer.
And then, they announced that freedom had been restored! And then they came, young boys really.
They came into my home along with my man. They came and found my man.
Those men whose money was almost gone. They found all of the men whose lives were almost their own.
And we all had drinks to celebrate. And they shot them all.
The most wonderful martinis. They shot my man.
And then they asked us to dance. And they came for me.
Me. For me, the woman.
And my sisters. For my sisters.
And then they took us. Then they took us.
They took us to dinner at a small private club. They stripped from us the dignity we had gained.
And they treated us to beef. And then they raped us.
It was one course after another. One after another they came after us.
We nearly burst we were so full. Lunging, plunging—sisters bleeding, sisters dying.
It was magnificent to be free again! It was hardly a relief to have survived.
The beans have almost disappeared now. The beans have disappeared.
The rice—I’ve replaced it with chicken or steak. The rice, I cannot find it.
And the parties continue night after night to make up for all the time wasted. And my silent tears are joined once more by the midnight cries of my children.
This poem was written by a working class Chilean woman in 1973, shortly after Chile’s socialist president, Salvador Allende, was overthrown. A U.S. missionary translated the work and brought it with her when she was forced to leave Chile. This is to be read by two people, one reading the bold-faced type and one reading the regular type.
The period of rice and beans for the poor woman in the poem occurs after the election of the socialist, Salvador Allende, as president of Chile. Allende was elected in 1970. He was overthrown in a military coup in September 1973 after a long period of destabilization launched by the wealthy classes and supported by the US government and US corporations such as International Telephone and Telegraph. Along with thousands of others, Allende was killed by the military. The coup, under the leadership of Gen. Augusto Pinochet, launched a period of severe hardship for the working and peasant classes. Although Chile currently has a civilian government, the military is still the country’s most powerful institution.
I’m becoming increasingly bothered by the use of the word ‘scum’.
I think the first time it really hit my in the stomach was when the people rioting in England last year were called ‘feral scum’.
And it bothers me that it is so acceptable to talk of ‘radscum’, ‘cis scum’ and call the police ‘scum’.
These uses of scum are not equivalent: calling rioters ‘scum’ is so-called punching down the hierarchy. Those that rioted were, for the most part, people downtrodden, exploited, poor, marginalised. Whereas, arguably, calling radical feminists, police, or cis people ‘scum’ could be described as ‘punching up’ the hierarchy. The former upholds current structures of power, and the latter examples are trying to dismantle them. And whereas the former is simply wrong, I am cautious to make a moral judgement on the latter, but i would call it reactionary. And, i do think it is more important to look at the conditions that cause people to think of others as scum.
However, it is one thing to say that a person, or a group of people collectively, act in an inhumane way, and another not to treat them like people. To call someone, or a group, ‘scum’ is to say they are inanimate, dirty, foul objects.
I have a lot of admiration for people like Toni Morrison and Desmond Tutu who make a point of holding the higher moral ground when others treat them like shit.
I came across this quote this story the other day:
“South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu walked by a construction site on a temporary sidewalk the width of one person. A white man appeared at the other end, recognized Tutu, and said, ‘I don’t make way for gorillas.’ At which Tutu stepped aside, made a deep sweeping gesture, and said, ‘Ah, yes, but I do.’”
While conducting a seminar with college students about self-esteem, Yolo Akili heard a young person say something that remains an important touchstone for those of us trying to do liberatory work in our communities. When talking about loving oneself, a Black woman said, “Self love? That shit’s gay!”
I’ve turned this statement over in my head a million times as it so accurately and unintentionally reveals so much about the constructions of sexuality in our culture. “Gay” has become an all purpose insult that means something is not cool, wack, aberrant, and not worth your time. How deep is it that loving yourself is a weird and unworthy pursuit? If self love is gay, what is straight? Is straightness self hatred?
I want to be clear that I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with being a cis gender man or woman engaged in loving consensual relationships with cis gender women or men. Like with race in our country, the problem isn’t necessarily white people, but how whiteness as a problematic social construct impacts everyone. Similarly, I would argue that straight people aren’t the issue but the way straightness and heteronormativity operate in our culture are serious impediments to self love and self actualization.
I choose to be queer. My choosing queerness has a lot to do with the scripts that exist for straight men and women’s relationships. Take the recent box office smash, Think Like a Man. So much of what is proscribed for straight couples is for women to change themselves into what they imagine men want from them. You can see it if you want to but it’s essentially a feature film length infomercial for Steve Harvey’s similarly titled book. It had the requisite gay jokes (for both men and women) and many a strong black woman cut back down to size. By thinking like a man, you ensure that he gets what he wants, sex, and women get what they want, a man. This reductive view on what motivates straight relationships depends on strict gender roles.
Straightness/heteronormativity sets up roles for men and women that serve a capitalistic agenda more than the building of loving relationships. The script is simple; find a member of the “opposite sex”, date, get married, buy a house, have kids and do all of this as an individual family unit. Our culture will sell you the tools to properly achieve these ends, to properly conform to gender norms that will hopefully help you attract someone to walk down the aisle with you. Buy this men’s loofa and women will be all over you, buy this lady razor and your man will love to get close to you. Selling people the idea that they are somehow insufficiently performing their gender, and therefore not attractive, reinforces a sense of self doubt and looking externally for validation, which is great for capitalism. You have to do something or buy something to be worthy of relationship. What a queer thing to say that my relationship with myself is important and I should invest in it over and above my ability to pull a partner.
And this is why I and other queer folks are giving Obama’s announcement regarding gay marriage the side eye. Leveraging privilege for certain types of households does nothing to address systemic inequality or combat discrimination that queer folks face. Why do romantic ties afford rights and access that would otherwise be denied? And I use the word “afford” deliberately because so much of what is obscured about marriage are its roots and continued relevance as a financial institution. Love takes a backseat to the structural realities of couple privilege in our culture. Society continues to give us messages that marriage is valuable, perhaps even at the expense of our own personal safety and freedom.
Self love is awesome. It should be celebrated and encouraged, not derided because it hinders an economy that’s dependent on folks feeling insecure. If loving yourself is gay, I don’t want to be straight.
Bahrain, along with Syria, has become a symbol of the failure of the Arab Spring to deliver real democracy and freedom across the Arab world. The media in Britain portray a rigid, oppressive almost feudal elite who are stubbornly holding out against the inevitable wave of modern freedoms and political justice.
But what is hardly ever mentioned in the press and TV reports is that this very system of oppression, the rock against which the dreams of democracy are being dashed, was largely created by the British. That, throughout most of the twentieth century, British advisers to the Bahraini royal family, backed up by British military might, were central figures in the creation of a ruthless system that imprisoned and sometimes tortured any Bahraini citizen who even dared to suggest the idea of democracy.
Mother’s Day has a reputation as a cheesy commercial holiday complete with flower bouquets, Hallmark cards, Godiva chocolate and Build-A-Bears. But, believe it or not, this holiday was actually founded as a radical feminist anti-war protest! Julia Ward Howe was an American abolitionist and social activist who began advocating for a mother’s day for peace in 1870. She was sickened by the destruction and carnage of the Civil & Franco-Prussian Wars and began thinking about what women could do to benefit humanity. Howe sought to find a way for women to express what she believed to be an innate motherly love for human beings. She believed that being a mother was an experience powerful enough to prevent any woman from wanting to watch her sons risk their lives to fight in a war. She aimed to provide an alternative female voice of peace and began holding anti-war conferences both in the United States and Britain. Beginning in 1872, she proclaimed every June 2nd as Mother’s Day for Peace, a day in which woman all over the world would come together and envision strategies for social change. The following is an excerpt from her Mother’s Day Proclamation:
“Arise, then, women of this day! Arise all women who have hearts, whether your baptism be of water or of tears! Say firmly: ‘We will not have questions decided by irrelevant agencies. Our husbands shall not come to us reeking of carnage for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy, and patience. We women of one country will be too tender to those of another country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.’ From the bosom of a devastated Earth a voice goes up with our own. It says ‘Disarm! Disarm!’ The sword of murder is not the balance of justice. Blood does not wipe out dishonor, nor violence indicate possession. As men have forsaken the plow and the anvil at the summons of war, let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of counsel. Let them meet first as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead…”
Howe’s vision wasn’t recognized until decades later when Anna Jarvis picked up on this idea. Jarvis was also an active feminist who viewed homemaker’s rights as essential. She had recently lost her own mother who, like Howe, was active in women’s circles and adamantly believed that motherhood could be used as a healing tool, In her mother’s honor, Jarvis campaigned for almost a decade to dedicate a day of the year in order to honor the work of all mothers. She chose a Sunday because she wanted it to be a “holy” day rather than not a holiday, and the second Sunday in May because it was the anniversary of her own mother’s death. Appreciating one’s own mother was less radical than protesting war and this incarnation of Mother’s Day became a movement. Mother’s Day services soon began being held in all U.S. states and in 1914, President Wilson made it an official national holiday!
Jarvis quickly became fed up with the commercialization of a national Mother’s Day. She threatened major lawsuits and engaged in acts of protest for the rest of her life. Of course, Jarvis’ frustrations were and continue to be beyond reasonable. Still, while the holiday drastically deviated from the visions of Jarvis and Howe, the value of “women’s work” was elevated to a higher level than it had ever previously been. This helped to pave the way for countless strides improving the American conception of the labor of motherhood.
· “Julia Ward Howe: The Woman Behind Mother’s Day.” Interview by Amy Goodman
· Ivory Madison. “Mother’s Day for Peace: A Dramatic Reading of Julia Ward Howe’s Mother’s Day Proclamation.”
· The Ottowa Citizen. “Battling the Mother’s Day Monster.”
“With disability justice, we want to move away from the “myth of independence,” that everyone can and should be able to do everything on their own. I am not fighting for independence, as much of the disability rights movement rallies behind. I am fighting for an interdependence that embraces need and tells the truth: no one does it on their own and the myth of independence is just that, a myth.”—
Hmm…I have mixed feelings about this. I do think it’s true that no one is entirely independent—we all have support from friends, family, the cultural and religious networks we join. It’s all a matter of degree. I think it’s more important to be able to do things than how much help you had doing them. However, the more independent you are, the more security you have, in a way. What if your friends don’t have time, your parents die? What if you have to move away from your previous support network? What if you don’t have the money for counseling, but still need it? The more you can help yourself, the better you can survive when your network falls through, it seems to me. This is one reason why parents hope for independence for their kids—they want their kids to be safe and happy no matter what, even after they’re gone.
I think you’ve missed the point - no-one is independent - people always rely on others. So the idea that anyone is ever independent is a myth. How do you have food to eat? did you grow it all yourself? How did you learn to write? Were you born with that ability?
All people need other people. All people need help. And it is good when people help other people, as long as that help is aimed towards an equal - someone you would expect to help you in whatever way they could if you needed or wanted it - i.e. interdependence rather than charity (the latter being hierarchical i.e. not between equals).
Although I get your point, support networks, friends and family are fallible.
“With disability justice, we want to move away from the “myth of independence,” that everyone can and should be able to do everything on their own. I am not fighting for independence, as much of the disability rights movement rallies behind. I am fighting for an interdependence that embraces need and tells the truth: no one does it on their own and the myth of independence is just that, a myth.”—Mia Mingus from this article
Lesbian is the word, the label, the condition that holds women in line. When a woman hears this word tossed her way, she knows she is stepping out of line. She knows that she has crossed the terrible boundary of her sex role. She recoils, she protests, she reshapes her actions to gain approval….
“A former LAPD officer turned sociologist observed that the overwhelming majority of those beaten by police turn out not to be guilty of any crime. “Cops don’t beat up burglars”, he observed. The reason, he explained, is simple: the one thing most guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to “define the situation.”…The police truncheon is precisely the point where the state’s bureaucratic imperative for imposing simple administrative schema, and its monopoly of coercive force, come together. It only makes sense then that bureaucratic violence should consist first and foremost of attacks on those who insist on alternative schemas or interpretations. At the same time, if one accepts Piaget’s famous definition of mature intelligence as the ability to coordinate between multiple perspectives (or possible perspectives) one can see, here, precisely how bureaucratic power, at the moment it turns to violence, becomes literally a form of infantile stupidity.”
Increasing nationalism and xenophobia in britain, and Cake.
So many people i talk to outside of my friendship group/campaigning circles are massively xenophobic. There is a recurrent theme of ‘these people coming to britain, who don’t try to integrate’, ‘britain people are being downtrodden across the world, what about british people’s rights, what about british traditions?’ (what, like colonisation?, no, pie and mash apparently). And this belief spans across people with left and right political views. (Although the right wing people are admittedly more extreme: ‘they should integrate even if they are intergrating into a society that oppresses them, that’s what you should expect if you come to another country’.)
And i am sad and scared. And sick in the bottom of my stomach. And when i see The Great British flag in all these ‘quirky’, ‘bohemian’, little shops, and think about the nostalgia they’re meant to evoke - oh the good old times when we weren’t ashamed to be british - when all was clear and simple and we had firm ground beneath our feet - when we marched across the world, taking what we wanted, exploiting people and land - i want to smash the shop up and burn the flag.
Which is why, to remedy the situation, I am going to make this layered chocolate truffle cake, and retreat into my own little world of sugar and chocolate.
There are currently 2000 Palestinians on hunger strike in Israeli prisons, though judging by the lack of coverage of the story in the mainstream media you’d never know it. Two of the prisoners involved are now in a critical condition, having been on hunger strike for 60 days and counting. They are protesting prison conditions, including the widespread use of solitary confinement, lack of medical treatment, and most importantly the use by the Israelis of the prisoner category described as administrative detention.
Under this particular category prisoners can be held indefinitely at the behest of the military without any charges being brought, no trial, or even so much as a hearing to be made aware of the evidence against them. Currently, over 300 Palestinians are being held in Israeli prisons and detentions centers under administrative detention, including six women and six children.
According to the website of the Palestinian prisoner support organization Addameer, 19 of the Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike are being kept in solitary confinement. One of those, Ahmad Sa’adat, has been held in isolation for three years and is yet to be charged with a crime.
It is also claimed that the Israeli prison authorities are waging a campaign of punishment against the hunger strikers, which includes daily raids on their cells, the confiscation of personal belongings, cutting their electricity supply, and various other measures deemed illegal under the Fourth Geneva Convention.
Israeli prisons and military detention camps are primarily located within the 1948 borders of Israel. There are a total of four interrogation centers, as well as secret interrogation facilities, five detention/holding centers, and about 21 prisons in which Palestinians from the Occupied Territories are held. The location of prisons within Israel and the transfer of detainees to locations within the occupying power’s territory are illegal under international law and constitute a war crime. Article 76 of the Fourth Geneva Convention explicitly states that “Protected persons accused of offences shall be detained in the occupied country, and if convicted they shall serve their sentences therein.”
Most of the Palestinian Prisoners are being held in detention facilities located outside the Occupied Territories.
Physical abuse and humiliation of the detainee by Israeli forces is common. Based on numerous sworn affidavits, detainees have reported that they have been subjected to attempted murder and rape, thrown down stairs while blindfolded, as well as various other forms of physical abuse. During their arrest, detainees are often forced to strip in public before being taken into custody. Family members have also been forced to remove their clothes during military raids. Mass arrests from homes in entire neighborhoods continue to take place in the Occupied Territories during military incursions. Once bound and blindfolded, the detainee is usually placed on the floor of a military jeep, sometimes face down, for transfer to an interrogation and detention center.
Since the beginning of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories in 1967, over 700,000 Palestinians have been detained by Israel. This forms approximately 20 percent of the total Palestinian population in the Occupied Territories. Considering the fact that the majority of those detained are male, the number of Palestinians who’ve been detained forms approximately 40 percent of the total male Palestinian population of the Occupied Territories.
The historical development of the contradiction between the proletariat and capital under real subsumption has led, today, to the period of crisis of the increasingly, and at an ever accelerated rate, internationalised capital relation. The current form of the capital relation and its crisis have been produced by the restructuring that followed the 1973 crisis. The main points of the analysis of the current capital relation are: a) The capital relation has been restructured at all levels. The restructuring was the ‘response’ to the fall in the rate of profit after 1964 (first in the US). This was at the same time a counter-revolution, that is, a counter-attack by the bourgeoisie against the proletariat. Its results were the end of the workers’ movement, the end of national and regional constraints in both the circulation of capital and the reproduction of the working class, and the end of state capitalism. b) An essential element of the restructuring was the accelerated internationalisation of capital since 1989. c) After 1982, more and more capital has been ‘invested’ in the financial sphere.